90 GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES.
she showed them two little white beds, and Hansel and Grethel laid themselves down on them, and thought they were in heaven.
The old woman, although her behaviour was so kind, was a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had built the little house on purpose to entice them. When they were once inside she used to kill them, cook them, and eat them, and then it was a feast-day with her. The witch's eyes were red, and she could not see very far, but she had a keen scent, like the beasts, and knew very well when human creatures were near. When she knew that Hansel and Grethel were coming, she gave a spiteful laugh, and said triumphantly,
" I have them, and they shall not escape me 1"
Early in the morning, before the children were awake, she got up to look at them, and as they lay sleeping so peacefully with round rosy cheeks, she said to herself,
" What a fine feast I shall have !"
Then she grasped Hansel with her withered hand, and led him into a little stable, and shut him up behind a grating j and call and scream as he might, it was no good. Then she went back to Grethel and shook her, crying,
" Get up, lazy bones; fetch water, and cook something nice for your brother ; he is outside in the stable, and must be fattened up. And when he is fat enough I will eat him."
Grethel began to weep bitterly, but it was of no use, she had to do what the wicked witch bade her.
And so the best kind of victuals was cooked for poor Hansel, while Grethel got nothing but crab-shells. Each morning the old woman visited the little stable, and cried,
" Hansel, stretch out your finger, that I may tell if you will soon be fat enough."
Hansel, however, used to hold out a little bone, and the old woman, who had weak eyes, could not see what it was, and supposing it to be Hansel's finger, wondered very much that it was not getting fatter. When four weeks had passed and Hansel seemed to remain so thin, she lost patience and could wait no longer.
"Now then, Grethel," cried she to the little girl; "be quick and draw water ; be Hansel fat or be he lean, to-morrow I must kill and cook him."